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Thursday, August 28, 2014

A message to parents, get involved.

By Greg Sampson

A Message for Parents

School has begun and already we are going through the contortions of revising master schedules because the district does not give schools the teachers they need to do it right.

Compromises are being made. Class size restrictions complicate things because if we have one middle school geometry class of 23 students and can’t add more, what do we do with the extra 3 students who belong in that class? We don’t have enough teachers for to create a second class. Whose child is left out?

Why is a Level 4 mathematics student not in an advanced class? Sometimes it is only that mistakes are made when the district forces schools to constantly revise the master schedule mere days before schools open.

We will fix most of it eventually. Some of it we won’t get to or won’t know about. I’m not blaming the school or the district in this post. Please get that straight. But I do have a message for parents.

YOU are your child’s advocate. There is no one better. You must make sure that the school your child attends has done the right thing in your child’s schedule. You must ask your child to look at the schedule and, if something does not seem right, contact your child’s school to find out the reasons. If something needs changing, you are the one who has to insist that the school make the changes.

Talk to your child everyday about what happened. We care about your children and work to keep them safe, but sometimes your children do not feel comfortable talking to adults at the school. They need you.

Come to us with their concerns. We will help.

You may feel you have been brushed off in the past. However, at every school there are people who care. This year there is a vibe that school personnel need to “stay in their lane.” Nevertheless, the superintendent has also preached that schools need to be oriented to customer service. Find someone like me. I will make sure that your concerns get to the right person.

When it comes to special needs children, you have to double down. Attend IEP meetings. Take a copy home with you. Follow up during the year to make sure that your child is receiving the support and services the school is required to provide.

Talk to your child. Find out how often the support facilitator (SF) comes to the class and works with her/him. How often does the SF pull the child out of class for small group learning away from the distractions of other students? When your child has a test, are the accommodations given—not only the once-a-year state test, but all tests?

You would be surprised what schools will do under budget pressures applied by the district. Don’t let your child’s education be compromised. The SES (special education services) audit the state did in the Spring barely scratched the surface.

Parents, you have the power. Be involved, check it out, demand that your child’s school provides safety and services.


  1. Parents totally have the power, for good or for bad. If parents advocate, things get done. Teachers have almost no power. Admin/downtown never really listen to teachers; it's the parents they listen to, especially if they speak loudly.

  2. You are only partially correct when you say, "Teachers have almost no power". Please allow me to correct you; " Teachers have ABSOLUTELY NO POWER".